Door-to-door delivery of the mail is becoming a distant memory with many apartments and residential communities turning to cluster mail boxes. For people with disabilities like Jim Hunter of Vallejo that can make life difficult.
It's not easy for Hunter to get around these days. A pulmonary disorder, lung condition, and diabetes make it hard for him to even walk short distances.
"The result of all that is I have no wind. I have no stamina, and so it's very difficult for me to walk more than 40 or 50 paces," said Hunter.
To get his mail, Hunter relies on the generosity of others because his mailbox is part of a cluster that is more than an eighth of a mile from his apartment up this hill. Kind hearted employees at the Bay Village apartment like Farrah Kawakami helped him to get his mail.
"He's had medication there that he needed to take so we made sure that we got him his mail when he called us," said Farrah Kawakami from Bay Village Apartments.
Hunter was reluctant to keep asking others to help him, so sometimes it would be four days before he got his mail.
"It meant pain, agony and impossibility because I couldn't get up here. You're probably wondering why didn't you just get into your car and drive up here? I don't have a car," said Hunter.
He called the U.S. Postal Service requesting that it deliver his mail to his door to accommodate his disability. He even sent them a DVD from his grandson demonstrating the long distance to the mailbox. He says his letters to the post office went unanswered and calls were not returned.
"So he was a little frustrated that he couldn't get his mail at times," said Kawakami.
Finally he contacted 7 On Your Side for assistance. We contacted the post office.
"I have to apologize for that because it looks like it fell through the cracks," said Gus Ruiz from the U.S. Postal Service. Ruiz blamed the delay on the transition to a new postmaster and said the process is fairly simple. "We actually look at it from a humanitarian perspective, first of all and that's our first consideration."
Once Hunter was able to install his own mailbox, the postal service began delivering his mail to his door.
"It is just essential and it makes my life a lot easier," said Hunter.
Hardship cases should be addressed to your local postmaster along with a note from your doctor describing your medical condition and then the postmaster can get on it.